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A very dated view of the powers of counsel.

A solicitor wanted to carry out an examination in court, fell out with the registrar as to whether he could do so without producing a written authority. An application was made to the Divisional Court with the support of the Law Society.

The Court of Appeal made clear that a solicitor did not have the privileges of counsel. Brett MR said of counsel [page 58],

A counsel cannot act for his client out of court. He can only act for him in court, but in court he has the whole conduct of the cause, and I always desirev to express this most firmly – he has the power to act without asking his client what he shall do. He has no master, but he is the conductor and regulator of the whole thing.

This reading is of historic interest. The BSB Code of Conduct (contained in the BSB Handbook) now governs the ethical behaviour of barristers.

 

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